A Thinking School

Why is thinking important?

Thinking is an invisible process that we use to solve problems and understand information. At Star, we understand that it’s important to provide opportunities for pupils to make their thinking visible. We strongly believe that the process of explicit thinking is a vital component of learning. We want to equip our pupils with the cognitive tools to remember, comprehend, apply, analyse, evaluate, create and reflect to ensure they become confident life-long learners.

How has our thinking journey started?

As a whole-school approach, we have started to develop and embed a common visual language for the ages 3-11 years. We have done this by:

  • Providing visual ‘tool- kits’ of the eight thinking processes accessible for ALL pupils.
  • Created ‘thinking houses’ for each class so pupils can track their own level and depth of thought, moving up and down as they take charge of their learning.
  • Created a ‘whole-school’ approach to ensure thinking is visible in classes and changes as learners develop.
  • Promoting a climate for metacognition, where pupils can reflect on their own thinking processes and evaluate their own learning.

Why do we want to make thinking visible?

“Can I use a thinking frame? I LOVE using them!” – Platon Year 3

Our visual thinking frames are a separated into 8 cognitive processes.


The benefits of making thinking visual are:

  • Provides teaching staff a window into pupils’ processing, understanding and misconceptions.
  • They are non-linguistic systems which means ALL pupils can access them as tools to recognise rich patterns of thinking.
  • The tools are consistent throughout the school and used from Nursery to Year 6.
  • Pupils are empowered to make their own choices on how they want to solve a problem or unpick content and knowledge.
  • These cognitive skills can be life long, applicable to emotional, academic and social situations and therefore forge independent learning behaviours to succeed in an ever-changing future.